2.Watch: Administrative Map Of China Provinces

Topography of China.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/China_100.78713E_35.63718N.jpg/800px-China_100.78713E_35.63718N.jpg

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The Geography of China

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Yangtze River map

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yangtze_River_Map.png

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Notes:  1. Click on the map to enlarger it for better details.

2.  The green areas are under direct control of the central government: the CCP.

3.  Beside Himalayan ‘s glaciers, the majority of Tibetan glaciers also  lie in the western sides of Sichuan and Yunnam provinces (these areas were belonged to Tibet before China invasion in 1959.)

4.  Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu, and Qinghai provinces encircle  Tibet-Qinghai plateau with massive chemical and mining industries, huge metropolitan areas and large populations (Chongqing is the crowdiest and largest metropolitan area in the world, with a metro-population of 34 million people).  It is the largest heat-source and polluted area in the world!  That is why Tibet-Qinghai glaciers have been melted rapidly.  In the next twenty years, by 2030 -2035, the water levels in the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers will probably be reduced at least 50% of the current levels.  This will force China to pump more underground water.  This effect is called “positive feedback loop” in engineering.  Shortage of water will definitely lead to famines, and pollution will lead to plagues.  Once these two things occur, social collapse is inevitable! And one can expect the CCP will be “gone with the wind”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:PRC_provinces_big_imagemap

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http://mappery.com/maps/China-Topographic-Map.jpg

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Three Gorges Dam on Yangtze River –

Hubei Province, China

(the dam is on the lower right corner of the photo)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yangtze_River

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Upper photo: May 15,2006

Lower photo: July 17, 2000

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* Three Gorges Dam, Yichang county, Hubei Province, China

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The Three Gorges Dam faces problems involving pollution and geological disaster prevention.

Three Gorges Dam

*

5/22/2011

China Admits Problems With Three Gorges Dam

Michael Wines

BEIJING — The Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project and a symbol of China’s confidence in risky technological solutions, is troubled by urgent pollution and geologic problems, a high-level government body acknowledged Thursday.

The statement came as technicians were certifying the very last of the dam’s array of generators as suitable for hydroelectric generation, the final step in a contentious 19-year effort to complete the project in defiance of domestic and international concerns over its safety as well as threats to the environment, displaced people, historical areas and natural beauty.

According to official figures, the venture cost China about $23 billion, but outside experts estimate it may have cost double that amount. The dam has been plagued by reports of floating archipelagoes of garbage, carpets of algae and landslides on the banks along the vast expanse of still water since the 600-foot-tall dam on the Yangtze River was completed in 2006. Critics also have complained that the government has fallen far short of its goals in helping to resettle the 1.4 million people displaced by the rising waters behind the dam.

China’s State Council, a coordinating body often likened to the United States president’s cabinet, said in a vague statement that the project suffered from a wide range of serious problems. “Although the Three Gorges project provides huge comprehensive benefits, urgent problems must be resolved regarding the smooth relocation of residents, ecological protection and geological disaster prevention,” the statement said.

The huge dam is meeting the government’s goal of producing pollution-free electric power, the government said, generating 84 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity last year. But critics say the sheer weight of water backed up in the 410-mile-long reservoir behind the dam has increased the danger of earthquakes and landslides. The government has acknowledged that risk, but denied that the project played any role in China’s powerful May 2008 quake in Sichuan Province, in which at least 87,000 people died.

Environmentalists say the lake has become a repository for the waste dumped by cities and industries.

Even the dam’s ability to regulate the notoriously changeable flow of the 3,900-mile-long Yangtze, one of China’s two major rivers, has been called into question. Faced with a historic drought this spring, cities downstream of the dam have been unable to accommodate oceangoing vessels that usually visit their ports, and about 400,000 residents of Hubei Province lost access to drinking water this month.

Although no link has been proved, critics say the dam has changed regional water tables, contributing to the shortage.

The government statement on the dam was released after a meeting led by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, seen by many outsiders as more responsive to average citizens’ complaints than many others in the nation’s leadership. The statement said that some problems were anticipated during the dam’s construction, but that others “arose because of new demands posed by economic and social development.”

China’s rulers may be most concerned by the impact of the dam on the displaced masses, many of whom appear to have failed to rebuild their lives after being evicted from the land covered by the reservoir. By 2020, the statement promised, displaced residents would enjoy living standards equal to those who had not been displaced.

The Three Gorges project has been dogged by skeptics, even within China’s bureaucracy, since it was approved in 1992. Environmentalists said it would destroy a stunning landscape of limestone cliffs regarded as one of the world’s most scenic sites, and skeptics warned that the new lake would lead to geologic and pollution problems.

Orville Schell, an environmental expert who leads the Asia Society’s Center on United States-China Relations, said he hoped that the government’s statement signaled a commitment to address the dam’s problems.

“There’s a kind of a balance sheet of benefits and liabilities that have come out of this project,” Mr. Schell said. “My sense is that the Chinese government is getting better and better at collecting information about things like this.” He added, “They know if they don’t fix these problems there will be dire consequences.”

NewYork Times

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http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2006-05/30/content_604228.htm

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4/13/2010

China’s Drought

by Tom Whipple

The drought in southwestern China which began last fall continues to intensify and may be starting to impact world energy prices. So far as many as 25 million people, 20 million acres of crops, and 12 million head of livestock have been affected.

Moreover, the drought stricken area, which is usually well-watered by monsoon rains, is the watershed for the bulk of China’s hydro-electric generating capacity, which in turn provides a substantial share of the power for the industrial plants along the southeast coast. Press reports speak of hydro power output having falling from 70 to 90 percent in some regions. Officials note that unless heavy rains come in the next month, many reservoirs will be empty and power stations will have to close down. For a country attempting to grow its GDP by 11 percent this year, electricity shortages that could run to 10 of 15 percent of national production could be a disaster.

Sixty years ago China could simply let remote villagers suffer whatever befell them, but today’s highly organized industrial China, sitting on trillions in foreign reserves, must do whatever it takes to mitigate the effects of the worst drought in 100 years.

Last year Beijing, the world’s largest coal producer, imported 100 million tons of coal and will likely to increase this total in 2010. In Hubei province where 30 percent of electric power comes from hydro, lower water levels behind the Three Gorges dam has already caused a shortage of 500 million KWh. In March, China increased its crude oil imports by 29 percent year over year to nearly 5 million b/d.
The course of drought conditions is difficult to predict, and the El Niño in the central Pacific which may be behind the drought seems to be disappearing. At the same time, the Chinese are reporting that drought conditions far to the north in Inner Mongolia are worsening.

Should the droughts persist, with hydro-power and food production continuing to fall over the next few months, there are likely to be major repercussions — particularly efforts to step up energy and food imports. All this suggests that the rapid increase in Chinese oil imports that we have seen in recent months may not be over.

Source:  http://www.energybulletin.net/node/52419

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March 17, 2010

China drought leaves millions short of water

A man checks an almost dried-out reservoir in Kunming, southwest China. Millions of people face drinking water shortages in the region because of a once-a-century drought that has dried up rivers and threatens vast farmlands, state media reported Wednesday.

*

Note: 

Millions of people face drinking water shortages in southwestern China because of a once-a-century drought that has dried up rivers and threatens vast farmlands, state media reported Wednesday.

The drought has gripped huge areas of Guizhou, Yunnan, and Sichuan provinces, the Guangxi region, and the mega-city of Chongqing for months, with rainfall 60 percent below normal since September, the Global Times said.

Guizhou province has been particularly hard-hit, with 86 out of its 88 cities within the drought zone and more than 17 million people short of drinking water, the report said.

Millions of people also were said to be short of water in other provinces, according to various reports.

The Global Times said some rivers had dried up in parts of Guizhou and that local villagers in some areas were lining up to obtain emergency water supplies distributed by the government.

China is prone to , and severe droughts are a regular occurrence throughout the country. However, the current water shortages reported in the southwest have been particularly acute.

Meteorological officials in Yunnan have said the was the worst in 100 years in some areas, the Global Times said.

The government announced last week that it had initiated hundreds of cloud-seeding operations in the region in recent months, using rockets fired into the sky or chemicals dropped from aircraft in a bid to induce rainfall.

However, Xinhua news agency last week quoted officials saying the efforts had so far been largely unsuccessful due to a lack of moisture in the skies.

Media reports also have said millions of livestock and huge farming areas were short of water.

Meteorologists have predicted the situation could worsen in coming months as hot and dry weather was expected to continue and water demand rises as farmers turn soon to their spring planting.

(c) 2010 AFP

Source:  http://www.physorg.com/news188032826.html

and,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/25/china-drought-emergency-food

and,

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Municipality of Chongqing before the current drought 4/14/2010

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Municipality of Chongqing has been under the current drought 4/14/2010

Image made available on 21 March 2010 shows two restaurant boats sit on the revealed riverbed of the narrowed Yangtze River in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality 20 March 2010. Prolonged drought in southwestern China has done damage to local ecology besides causing drinking water scarcity to over 20 million people. EPA/ZHAO JUNCHAO

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Image made available on 21 March 2010 shows a large part of the riverbed of the Yangtze River has been revealed in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality 20 March 2010. Prolonged drought in southwestern China has done damage to local ecology besides causing drinking water scarcity to over 20 million people. EPA/ZHAO JUNCHAO

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A must-see-video clip:

Chongqing water pollution

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 and,

The cost of chinese capitalism

source: http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/asiapacific/features/article_1542638.php/In-Pictures-China-Drought?page=2

and,

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peterfoster/100027868/china-drought-as-revealed-by-gps/

and,

http://english.sina.com/china/p/2010/0408/313288.html

and,

http://english.sina.com/z/100224drought/index.shtml

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Drought turns southern China into arid plain

Dead shellfish are all that remain of the lake in Damoguzhen County, Yunnan (Photograph: Jonathan Watts/Guardian)

*The government has embarked on a massive rain-making operation, firing thousands of cloud-seeding rockets into the sky

Wednesday 7 April 2010
Jonathan Watts in Damoguzhen, Yunnan
guardian.co.uk

It is hard to imagine a less fitting environment for a mollusc than the arid plain of Damoguzhen in south-west China.

There is not a drop of water in sight. The baked and fissured earth resembles an ancient desert. Yet shellfish are scattered here in their thousands; all so recently perished that shriveled, blackened bodies are still visible inside cracked, opened shells.

Far out of water, the aquatic animals are not the advance guard of evolutionary progress; but the victims of a drought that has devastated their habitat and now threatens the livelihoods of millions of people in surrounding regions. The Chinese government is so worried about the drought that it has embarked on a massive rain-making operation, involving firing thousands of shells and rockets into the sky to seed clouds.

Until last summer, Damoguzhen was home to a lake that stretched across a mile-wide expanse of water in Yunnan, a southern Chinese province famed for its mighty rivers, moist climate and beautiful views.

Today, it joins 310 reservoirs, 580 rivers and 3,600 pools that have been baked dry by a once-in-a-century drought that is evaporating drinking supplies, devastating crops and stirring up political tensions over dam construction, monoculture plantations and cross-border water management in south-east Asia. Linking specific weather events to human-caused climate change is impossible, but the drought is consistent with what climate scientists expect to see more of in future.

Hardest hit are local farmers such as Ying Yuexian, who has seen her tobacco and rice crop shrivel up over a six-month period that has seen record high temperatures and half the usual amount of rain.

“In February, the water dried up completely,” said the 34-year-old, surveying the parched expanse where she once fished. “It turned into this overnight.” Instead of drawing water from the lake, she now scrapes soil from its cracked bed in the hope that the nutrients can replenish the earth on her sun-blasted farmland.

Her husband, Zhu Chongqing, estimates that the family’s annual income will halve this year and the situation could get worse because the wet season is not due for another month. “We are waiting for the rain. We dare not plant rice or tobacco before that, but the drought continues” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything like this.”

It is a similar story across the region. Older villagers say reservoirs and irrigation channels are dry for the first time in their lives. Mountain communities have to walk hours each day to secure drinking supplies. Rationing has been introduced in many areas, affecting more than 20 million people, 15m animals and 2m hectares of farmland.

With its mighty rivers and steep gorges, south-west China is the world’s biggest hydro-electric powerhouse, but reservoir levels have fallen so low this year that 60% of dams report a decline in electricity output. This forces industrial estates and cities to burn more coal and emit more carbon to make up the shortfall.

Commodity values are also rising. In the giant rubber plantations of Xishuangbanna, farmers report a sharp fall in production that has pushed up prices by 40%.

“Less water means less rubber,” said Zhang Xiaoping a rubber farmer. “In a good year, I can collect 80kg a day from these 300 trees, but I am down to half that now.”

According to local media, sugar prices are up 10% because of the impact on cane fields. Rice and broad beans are also more expensive.

Wildlife is threatened because Yunnan – one of the most biodiverse regions on earth – is a last refuge for many species that are extinct elsewhere. Conservationists say birds have migrated, elephants moved to new territory and many big mammals are ranging further to secure water. Reptiles and plants are most vulnerable.

“We are hearing stories from nature reserves that amphibians are dying,” said Wu Yusong of the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s Yunnan office. “We are still in the process of monitoring the situation but we know that half the agricultural crops in this region cannot be harvested this year so we can imagine that other plants will be also be similarly affected.”

The government says it has earmarked more than 7 billion yuan (£700m) for relief projects, mobilised 7,600 water trucks and dug 180,000 wells to alleviate the impact.

It has also launched a massive weather modification operation. In a single week, the authorities fired over 10,000 silver nitrate shells and over 1,000 rockets into the clouds to induce rain, according to Zheng Guoguang, head of the China Meteorological Administration.

Short bursts of rain have mitigated the problem in some areas, but the overall picture remains grim and the causes contentious.

On stretches of the Mekong river, water levels are at 50-year lows, spurring criticism from downstream nations that China’s hydropower expansion has siphoned off supplies that should be preserved for drinking water and fishing.

At the first summit this week of the Mekong River Commission, which comprises Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the Chinese vice minister, Song Tao, insisted climate change rather than his country was to blame.

“Statistics show that the recent drought that hit the whole river basin is attributable to the extreme dry weather, and the water level decline of the Mekong River has nothing to do with hydropower development,” he said.

But environment activists inside China say dams and other forms of accelerated development are taking an excessive ecological toll. “Dams and plantations are not to blame for the extreme weather, but they worsen the impact of the drought and the competition for water resources,” said Yang Yong, an explorer and geologist. “The government now realises the problems and should reconsider its plans for water resource management.”

“In recent years, the focus of dam construction has been on power generation, but we have neglected the needs of flood prevention and irrigation,” said Wang Yongchen of Green Earth Volunteers.

The drought has also raised fresh doubts about the wisdom of China’s biggest hydro-engineering project, the South-North water diversion scheme, which is designed to channel billions of tonnes to arid northern cities such as Beijing and Tianjin.

This made sense while the south enjoyed more abundant water resources, but climatologists are now warning that north and south China could suffer simultaneous droughts.

The National Climate Centre estimates 10 downpours will be needed to alleviate the water shortage in the south. This is not forecast for at least another month.

With the prospect of prolonged dry spells in the future, Liu Ning, vice-minister of water resources, told local media it may be necessary to move people from the most vulnerable areas.

“They can go to cities, or places with more water. If droughts continue for several more years, we think we can use the nation’s power to relocate them to other provinces.”

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4/13/2010

Water, water, everywhere but …

Lack of government spending in water conservancy projects exacerbates drought. Peng Yining and Li Yingqing in Kunming, and Hu Yongqi in Beijing report.

With about 1,000 rivers and lakes, Yunnan ranks third in China when it comes to water resources. It also wins bronze for its annual average rainfall. So in a region with such natural abundance, why are millions continuing to thirst as the southwest suffers its worst drought in 100 years?

For some, the answer is easy: It is because of this wealth of resources.

“In the past, we always thought Yunnan was rich in water resources, so the authorities ignored the importance of water conservation projects, particularly in rural areas,” said Zhang Pengxiang, a high-ranking publicity official for Shilin county. “We always expected the rainfall to provide all our irrigation water. Now there’s a drought, the losses have been huge.”

Water conservation has very much been an afterthought for many in the province, leading to a lack of investment in preparing for the disaster, say analysts.

Although the province boasts 222 billion cubic meters in water resources, just 6.9 percent is being exploited, less than a third of the national average, according to official figures.

“The drought has taught us a serious lesson: The importance of the construction of water conservancy facilities in the countryside,” said Wang Shizong, deputy director of the Yunnan Water Conservancy Bureau.

“Despite a huge amount of rivers and lakes, most resources are unavailable without appropriate water conservancy, especially in the mountains that make up 94 percent of the province. In rural areas, most people still rely on rainfall for their drinking and irrigation water.”

Yunnan receives an average of 1,200 mm of rain every year. However, 80 percent of that comes in the wet season, May to October, leaving residents vulnerable to shortages during hot, dry spells.

And although the area finally received rain last weekend – the result of more than 3,200 cloud-seeding rockets – the worst is far from over, particularly in the mountains.

Of the province’s 889 rivers and 30 lakes, 70 percent are in remote and impoverished areas, with more than 80 percent of its towns and cities located in geographical basins. However, although large-scale water conservation facilities have been built near urban areas, smaller projects in rural areas, such as water cellars and reservoirs, have been allowed to fall into ruin, say experts.

A villager climbs into a newly constructed water tank in Wufu village in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, which like neighboring Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, has been badly affected by drought. huang xiaobang/xinhua

“Many irrigation facilities have lost function due to decades of disrepair,” said Zheng Fengtian, a professor in rural development at Renmin University of China in Beijing. “Local governments either receive inadequate financial support for irrigation projects or show rare willingness to do them because of a lack of systematic regulations. Farmers are also reluctant to invest in irrigation projects. Instead they go to work in big cities because they can make more money.”

Water conservation is in extremely short supply in mountainous areas, admitted Da Wa, director of the office of Yunnan flood control and drought relief, at a press conference on March 24.

“Some remote mountain areas have no water source at all,” said Yang Jialiang, 40, a Jiuwuji township official in Luoping county, who grew up in a mountain village and as a child collected dew from trees and bushes in buckets to ensure his family had enough to drink.

It has not rained in Jiuwuji since September. Crops have withered and trees have died, giving the mountain a dark, gloomy appearance from afar. “The mountain used to be green,” said Yang. “Some trees have been growing for almost 100 years. It could well take another 100 for them to recover.”

In 1998, authorities spent 2 million yuan ($290,000) to build a reservoir in Jiuwuji, which is made up of mostly Yi ethnic residents. “But after 12 years, the reservoir is no longer big enough for the area’s increasing population, and the dam has become old and started leaking,” he said. “We don’t have any money to repair it.”

Repairing the reservoir is expected to cost another 2 million yuan, although the township government’s annual income – most of it generated from tobacco and ginger crops – is just 800,000 yuan.

The high cost is due to the fact , like many areas in Yunnan, Jiuwuji lies on karst land, which quickly drains surface water, making it more expensive to build and maintain a reservoir.

The township once applied for subsidies from the provincial government to pay for the upkeep of the reservoir but was told the project was “too small”, said Yang. “The project might be small but it would solve the water problem for 10,000 people. If we had repaired it last year, the drought might not have affected us so much.”

Since February, the township government has delivered free drinking water to its scattered villages, some of which are two hours from their nearest neighbor. The cost of delivering just 1 ton of water is 60 yuan, meaning that if the drought lasts until May, as predicted, the authority will have spent as much as 1.4 million yuan – almost as much as it would have cost to repair the reservoir.

Although there was no money to fix the large, municipal water tank, Jiuwuji officials have for years encouraged residents to equip their homes with water cellars, which allow them to store more than 5 tons during rainy season.

In the last decade, more than 3,000 water cellars have been built, meaning almost every household in the township has one. The tanks are now being used to hold water received from the authorities and anything collected on the mountain top. “Small cellars have helped to solve a big problem,” said Yang. “If there were no water cellars in our township, the drought would have been deadly. We’re so lucky that we were prepared before the drought.”

The waiting game

Most other parts of Yunnan are not so lucky. In Xiaoxin, a mountain village in the east, the only water conservation project is a large, 3-meter-deep cement pond that was built in 1997.

The water in the pond was far from enough to support 72 people and 40 hectares of farmland, and has been dry since November. The residents’ only drinking supply is now an old well 2 km away that was formerly used to feed cattle and is polluted with leaves and refuse.

“I wish there were at least two ponds in our village, one for watering the cattle and the other to store drinking water. Just one more pond and the water shortage would have been far less severe,” said villager Zhang Xiaochun, 26, who has not bathed for months because of the drought.

Dadiliangzi, a village with 18 households 5 km from Xiaoxin, has two reservoirs that are effectively pits dug 60 year ago. There are no wells and no water cellars. As the annual average income here is less than 1,000 yuan, villagers cannot afford the cement to build them. Instead, only a half-meter wall of rubble protects their only drinking sources, and this has failed to prevent the water draining into the ground.

“We asked the local government to reinforce the reservoirs or start new water conservation projects,” said Dai Muyuan, the village chief. “The authorities sent engineers to investigate but they quickly left. It will cost 180,000 yuan to repair just one of the old reservoirs. Maybe they thought it was not worth spending so much money on helping just 18 households.”

Many people also use natural stone pits to collect rainwater, such as the 123 residents of Sunjiadi, a largely Miao ethnic community in Luoping county. Since the pit dried up, five tons of water has been delivered every two days but villages still need to walk three hours to get river water for their cattle.

“I carry 25 liters of water home twice a day,” said a woman in her 30s waiting for the water truck to arrive. “I gave up on my crops – they all dried out – but I have to save my thirsty cattle.” Most people waiting with her were women, children or elderly people. All the village’s young men have gone to cities to find work to make up for the losses from their ruined crops. “They can go to the brick kiln to earn money carrying bricks. The drought has destroyed our farming,” said the woman.

Looking to the future

Since the onset of the drought, authorities in Yunnan have begun digging wells across the province – each costing about 500,000 yuan – in the hope of finding underground drinking sources.

On March 22, Yunnan water resources bureau also unveiled plans for 100 key conservation projects and one million smaller projects to speed up the upgrading of urban and rural water supplies. The plans will cost about 30 billion yuan, said officials.

For some, however, it is too little and too late. “Starting construction on water conservation after a drought begins is too late,” said publicity official Zhang. “Delivering drinking water can only solve the current problem. Only the construction of more storage facilities can solve the long-term problems with drought.”

In most cases, delivering water to villages authorities has ensured there is enough for residents and their livestock – but the crops have all starved. As of March 18, the estimated economic loss from Yunnan’s agricultural disaster could hit 17 billion yuan.

Work in Luoping county started two weeks ago and, although six wells have been dug to more than 130 meters deep, no water has yet been discovered.

“For some regions that have no water resources and are too remote to build water conservation facilities, the government has been considering relocating residents,” said conservation chief Wang Shizong. “The government will keep delivering free water but it is not a solution in a long term.”

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/6934137.html

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Beijing’s water consumption defies ongoing drought

04/14/2010 – 14:44

Probe International Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The number of businesses in Beijing that are using water lavishly continues to grow, despite a decades-long drought and a stressed watershed, say Chinese environmental researchers in a recent report.

“People in other countries have a kettle of water; people in China have a cup of water. But people in Beijing have a sip of water,” explained Hu Kanping [1], the deputy chief editor of the magazine, Environmental Protection, and the co-writer of the Annual Report on Environment Development of China, or Green Book 2010, as it is popularly known.

Each Beijinger has, on average, only 248 cu metres of water to use annually, well below the international guideline of 1000 cubic metres. Despite this extreme water shortage, the Green Report says that there has been an explosion of spas and bathhouses—both gluttons for water—in Beijing from 39 in 1989 to more than 3,000 today [2].

If all the 17 million residents in Beijing indulge themselves just once a month in public bathhouses, using 0.4 tons of water a time, the water used in bathing alone will be 81.6 million tons a year, says the Green Book. That’s equal to the water capacity of 41 Kunming Lakes, Beijing’s picturesque and historic lake at the centre of the Summer Palace.

“Bathers can pamper themselves with milk spas, flower spas, natural spring spas, lava rock spas, and fish spas that use tiny fish to nibble away dead skin,” says China Daily.

“The bathing industry has done nothing wrong,” says Mr. Hu [1], but the industry is “not suitable for a thirsty city like Beijing.”

But the bathing and spa industry isn’t alone in sucking up scarce groundwater.

For example, the city uses 80 to 100 million tons of water to flush its toilets per year. And Beijing boasts a huge car wash industry, with more than 9,000 car wash companies that use more than 30 million tons of water a year. All these functions could more frugally be done with recycled water.

Severe water shortages have spurred the drilling of new wells in the city to a point that the city is using groundwater faster than it can be recharged by rainfall, leading to “subsidence” or the sinking of the city. In 2009, Beijing consumed a total of 3.55 billion cu m of water, two thirds of which was underground water.

“In 1999 you could find water at an average level of 12 meters underground, but in 2008, you needed to dig 23 meters underground, says Wang Shan, a researcher at the Beijing Institute of Water.

Wang Jian, a water specialist with Green SOS, an NGO based in Beijing, said the use of underground water shouldn’t exceed 2.1 billion cubic metres a year to be sustainable.

“More than 2.1 billion cu m a year is over-exploitation of the underground water,” said Wang, who has studied the use of water in Beijing since the 1970s.

Unfortunately, Beijing is well past the 2.1-billion threshold: statistics from the Beijing Water Institute showed that between 1990 and 2005 the use of underground water ranged from 2.5-billion cu m to 2.7-billion, in effect “mining’ the city’s ground water. 

To encourage conservation, Beijing has raised water prices for commercial and industrial use by 11 to 50 percent and by 24 percent for residential use.

Beijing has also adopted more desperate and expensive measures to fill its water deficit, such as diverting water from neighbouring Hebei and by building the gargantuan South-North Water Transfer canal to redirect water from the Yangtze River to Beijing. These schemes have angered hundreds of thousands of farmers who have been deprived of their water and are being forced to move to make way for the canals. Environmental researchers argue, instead, for price hikes to reflect the scarcity value of Beijing’s water and to encourage water recycling and conservation.

Further Reading:

http://www.probeinternational.org/beijing-water/beijing%E2%80%99s-water-consumption-defies-ongoing-drought

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One Response to 2.Watch: Administrative Map Of China Provinces

  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or
    something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that,
    this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

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